Responding to a pack of Metro Council members who have attacked the credibility of a Music City Center feasibility study conducted by HVS consulting, the firm’s managing director is on the defensive, arguing that claims against his firm have been based on “incomplete and misleading information.”
In a letter sent to council members Monday, Tom Hazinski — who has fielded a barrage of questions from council members skeptical of the financing plan for a proposed $585 million center — wrote, “the dialogue between us has evolved from what was initially a discussion of our study report to one about the qualifications of HVS and the quality of our work.”
“While we understand that our qualifications are an important factor in assessing the reliability of our analysis, we have become concerned about the tone of this conversation and the direct attacks on our credibility on the part of some members of the Metro Council,” Hazinski continued.
Hazinski is the key contributor to a study commissioned by Metro government and used by Mayor Karl Dean as supporting evidence for the financial soundness and economic impact of a new 1.2 million-square-foot convention center in downtown Nashville.
Hazinski has found himself on the hot seat during recent council appearances, appearing uncomfortable at times as council skeptics — led by Mike Jameson, Emily Evans and Eric Crafton — questioned the report’s credibility.
During last week’s joint committee meetings, Jameson pointed out that studies on convention centers in Dallas, Kansas City and San Antonio all happen to forecast the same number of delegates: 911,360.
At the meeting, Hazinski said he didn’t have anything to do with those particular reports.
“Immediately following the meeting, I contacted the authors of (the Dallas report) to inquire about these so called errors,” Hazinski wrote in Monday’s letter. “Their response was that the computer glitch that caused the errors was noticed immediately and corrected long ago.”
During the same committee meeting, Evans took members through a slideshow presentation that showed HVS hotel-room-night projections for a convention center in Overland Park, Kan., fell well short of actual figures tabulated by that city’s convention center and visitors bureau.
At the meeting, Hazinski said the comparison is not valid, as HVS compiles its projections differently than the CVB counts its room nights.
“I subsequently called the director of the Overland Park CVB and the manager of the Overland Park Convention Center and confirmed that the only publicly available numbers on room nights are in fact the CVB numbers, and that the CVB numbers are only a subset of what HVS had forecast,” Hazinski wrote.